Do You Mean, “Yes”?

There is a passage in Scripture that says not to swear by anything on the earth or the heavens, but let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no”. (James 5:12)

I think one of the fundamental blocks most people struggle with is the desire to be a selfless person; and yet as a result of obligation, guilt and expectations, we lose the honesty of our “yes” and our “no”, and thus become selfish because the meaning of our desires and our words have lost their power.

I know for me, that when I am in relationship with people, I hear all the conditioning of my childhood – the idealised expectations of what a healthy and good relationship is, and somehow in that quagmire of my thinking, I find more often than I like the sad truth that when I say “yes” to a particular request, there is a truth that is lacking from it. When I say “yes” and I actually mean “no” what is triggered within me is this secret desire to have my needs met, not from a holy place but rather from a fearful place.

I’m not sure if I can fully explain this, but I’ll try.

Whenever I say “yes” from the energy of obligation, fear or some ideal around a commitment that I made, but I actually mean “no” as I have no desire to do that thing, I steal something from myself and give nothing of substance to the other person as truth is lacking in what I do. It might appear good, but it’s not. Somehow I erode that which is most holy in me – my identity.

There must be some place in me where I believe that were I to say “no” to a request and mean it, that somehow the person I say “no” to would not be able to honour my truth, nor receive the love I have for them even when I say “no”. And so my “yes” in that moment is actually selfish, and selfishness begets more selfishness. I want them to feel loved, and I want to control that. I want them to feel honoured, and I want to control that. I want them to feel valued, and I want to control that. The “control desire” is by its very nature selfish. The truth is how people feel about me or perceive me to be is completely beyond my control. And every time I keep my truth from that person, I am deciding two things: 1) I know what that person is thinking, and 2) I believe that it would not be good of me. There is no rest in this assumption. And you know what they say about assumptions…it makes an ass out of you and me. The effect is I am cloistered off behind an ideal version of who I am. In many ways I am alone, even when people are in amazingly close proximity.

In this writing I’m not talking about not being nice. I am actually trying to communicate that you can trust that you are a nice person. But your fear of not being kind ironically brings you into submission of obligation and perpetuates the cycle of isolation. Obligation is an energy that creates selfishness in people that are intended to be free because it is a form of imprisonment.

There is a beauty in responsibility because it is a choice. There is no beauty in obligation because it is an imposition. We impose it upon ourselves because of our conditioning and our fears. It is, by its very nature, a burden. What I am talking about here is fundamentally the bedrock of your honesty. It is the acting out of your assessment of your value, and others’ values, to always offer the vulnerability of your truth. It all begins with what you say “yes” to and what you say “no” to. Do you mean what you say from that place of love and freedom to be who you are as a gift to others?


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